Monday, October 29, 2007

Abby Kate Turns One!

How is it possible that our little Abby Kate is a year old?! She turned one on Friday, Oct. 26. Looking back on the 12 months she's been with us is amazing. She has grown and changed more in this one year than she will in any year to come. And it has been a fantastic year! Mike and I have enjoyed every minute of her precious life and we thank God every day for giving her to us.

Abby Kate spent her actual birthday at the park having a picnic during the day, playing with her cousin William and then having cake just before bed, which she LOVED. The next day, we had a big birthday party for her. Thanks to Grami and Pawpaw, Grandma and Grandpa Wallace, Aunt Carrie and William and "Aunt" Lyndsay and Pat for traveling so far to help us celebrate Abby Kate's special day. We were so thankful for your presence and enjoyed spending time with you, however short!

AK received a ton of great birthday presents including toys, books and clothes. Thanks so much to everyone for all the fun stuff! She has spent the last few days exploring all of the new toys and is a happy, happy girl!

On her birthday. "I'm this many, Mommy!"

Playing with Grami and PawPaw.

... and with William.

... and with Mommy.

... and with Grandma.

The Decor.

A big fan of the pink punch!

Digging in to her smash cake!

The Cake.

With Aunt Lyndsay and Pat

The "after party"

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Pickin' Punkins (and Rocks)

We went to a local plantation to pick some pumpkins last weekend. Abby Kate spent some time at the little petting zoo (where she was a little guarded - didn't want to get too close!). She also went on a hayride and watched some little pigs root through the dirt. But all this was nothing in comparison to Lil' Miss October's favorite part of the outing... stacking rocks on the picnic table. :)

In other news, the Cats beat LSU in a triple OT. We flew our UK flag amongst all the LSU flags on our street and watched from afar in our blue and white. Go Blue!

Practicing our cheers!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Lions and Tigers and ... Gorillas, Oh My!

During a recent trip home to Kentucky, we took advantage of the great weather and headed to the zoo with Grami, Aunt Carrie, William, a friend, Cristy and her son Caden. I enjoyed it SO much. I hadn't been to the zoo in a long time and taking Abby Kate was so much fun. She spent the entire day with her index finger pointed. Most of the time at nothing, but I guess she just felt the need to point at things since everyone else was pointing, trying to direct her attention to the animals.

Caden, William and Abby Kate especially enjoyed the gorillas. They were inside, climbing ropes and just hanging out near the glass, "modeling" for their visitors. They are such amazing creatures! One came so close to Abby Kate, she back away really quick, her eyes huge.

We must have arrived during nap time because most of the animals were sleeping. But AK got to ride the carousel and the train, which were great thrills for all the kids.

See, pointing at nothing as she says, "Doi?" Everything is "doi."

Looking at the gorillas.

She wasn't a big fan of going up and down, so we later found a stationary giraffe to ride.

Carrie is on the left with William, and Cristy on the right with Caden. Thanks for letting us use your guest passes! We had so much fun!

We had a wonderful time in Kentucky as always. Thanks, Mom and Dad for letting us stay even when you were in the middle of getting the house painted. It looks great!

Grami and Pawpaw, enjoying their grandbabies.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Emergency? Not so much.

Often, Mike and I will go to a lake nearby that has a lot of park-like areas, trees and trails of all kinds around it. Sometimes we picnic by the lake, run or walk the gravel and bike trails, or just run around in the grassy areas with Abby Kate to get some fresh air. It's a beautiful place.

The gravel trail is really nice. The main trail is a 4.5 mile trek that stretches around the entire lake with horse trails and bike trails running around and through it. It is almost completely wooded, which is great when we run. (SHADE! It's October, but we're still melting here!) We met our friends, the Newbolds, out there a couple weekends ago and we decided to pick up some food and have a picnic by the lake.

While Mike and Colin went to get the food, Sarah and I made a hike around part of the trail to find a picnic table in the shade. Along the way, our conversation stopped short as we both heard what we thought was a cow or something. "A cow? No, what is that?" we were thinking. Then we heard it again. It was an older man yelling "HELP!" He yelled out twice more, really loud and then yelled "HELP ME!" even louder. The sound was coming from the other side of the lake, along the trail. We couldn't see him, only heard his cries. We both got chills and felt completely helpless because he was at least 3 miles away from us on foot. Unless of course we jumped in the lake and swam across - which would probably have taken me twice as long. So I called 911. The dispatcher said they'd have someone out there shortly. Looking back across the lake, I thought I saw someone in a red shirt running toward the man. Not long after, a cop came by patrolling the area, as they do regularly. I also told him about the man and he headed that way. FORTY-FIVE minutes later, we saw an ambulance show up. Still being on the opposite side of the lake, we watched and discussed it, wondering what happened to the man. Did he fall? Was he bitten by something? Was he attacked by polar bears? (Colin's speculation. haha.)

A few minutes later, another police cruiser came rolling up and asked if we'd been there long. Mike told the sheriff I'd been the one to call it in. He thanked us and then asked a few questions. Did I see anyone else? I told him about the red shirt and he asked if it could've been orange. I said no and he goes, "well, we have three suspects." I asked what happened to the man and he said they hadn't found him yet. "WHAT?!" I'm thinking. All these crazy things started going through our minds. The sheriff said they'd had mules going up and down the trails looking for the man. Really?! I said. Of course I didn't know that ATV-type vehicles were sometimes called "mules." Uh, right. Not the four-legged variety. Sarah - thanks for taking the brunt of the jokes with me on that one! Apparently the "suspects" had come out of a weird part of the woods.

Just then, an officer came over the radio in the police car and said they'd found the man. I got all nervous for a second until the sheriff said, "OK, they found him. He's OK - he just got separated from his group."

Are you kidding me?! This man is yelling like he's bleeding out and it turns out he's just split up from his friends/relatives on a path that goes in a friggin' circle?! Uh, follow the big, white gravel path, dude, it's not hard. But seriously - when you're lost for a second and looking for your friends, do you yell "HELP, HELP, HELP ME!" like your life depends on it, or do you simply shout out "Hey Bob, where'd you go?" Doesn't that sound little fishy to you? Hmmmm.

So ambulances, police and herds of "mules" all came out for nothing. Oops, my bad. Sarah can attest though - from the sound of this guy, he was in serious trouble. Plus, a few years ago, someone found a head along the gravel path. Yep, I said head - a human, severed head. A few months later, they found the headless body in a car at the bottom of the lake. (Sorry about the graphic detail.) Spooky, I know. This beautiful lake doesn't look like the place of such a gruesome crime scene. So I guess people and police are extra cautious about things around there now. I never go there by myself.

Anyway, all this to give you one valuable piece of information... did you know that when you call 911, your phone (at least mine, anyway) puts itself into emergency mode? It made this little jingle sound and stayed in this mode until I manually exited it. I guess it's so they can pinpoint your location even if you are in trouble and can't talk once you've dialed. Good to know!

This is the only picture I could find that shows part of the lake area.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Flying Solo

Hearing the jets fly over our house everyday is pretty neat. They're so fast and smooth. Recently, Mike passed his check ride and soloed for the first time in one of them. He started out in the flight simulators back in April/May, then began flying the jet from the backseat with an instructor, then moved up to the front seat with an instructor in back, and finally, all by himself. I can't imagine going up there alone, but Mike said he wasn't nervous at all. I guess that's the whole point of such intense training.

He's been learning the instruments for awhile now, which requires him to fly under a hood where he can only rely on the navigational instruments in the cockpit to guide him. Next week, he'll begin "forms," or how to fly in formation. He's looking forward to this part of training because he says it'll be more fun.

I'd like to post a picture of him in the T-45, but I guess they don't actually want the students' spouses out on the line taking pictures of them before their flights. (Or maybe it would just be embarrassing for Mike.) It's not like I'm licking my thumb to wipe dirt off his face for goodness sake! Maybe I'll get a shot one of these weekends.

Congrats, Mike, on your solo in the jet! We're proud of you!

Monday, October 01, 2007

A New Throne

As I mentioned in a previous post, Princess AK has a new car seat. As she's approaching her first birthday - and is over the weight limit for riding forward-facing - we decided to turn her around. She has always been good in the car, but now she's even happier!

AK has her own language and just babbles all day long telling all kinds of stories using gestures, voice inflection and all! She also loves to "read." She pretends to read her books as she turns the pages. It's so cute.

On a recent trip to Jackson, MS, with my friend, Sarah, AK was in such great spirits in her car seat that she was cackling the whole way home. Sarah caught it on video. Abby Kate and Sarah's 3-year-old, Eden, were laughing hysterically. Here's the clip. (Thanks, Sarah!)